New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Liberals should be more tactful in gun debate

The GOP majority in the Idaho House of Representatives passed a bill last week that would allow students to carry firearms on college campuses. This ruling marks the last hurdle for the bill before it is presented to Gov. Butch Otter to sign. The popular liberal response has been to condemn these measures as counterproductive to the interest of safety. Yet, the slow pace at which gun reform is introduced would suggest that such condemnations are not effective. Rather than remaining in staunch opposition to the possession of guns, liberals would do well to be conscious of how pervasive gun culture is in the United States.

After the Newtown, Conn., school shootings, an incident that shook Americans on all ends of the gun control spectrum, President Barack Obama and both conservative and liberal lawmakers vowed to toughen laws in an effort to prevent another tragedy. However, instances of large-scale public shootings continue around the United States and almost no progress has been made. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are unwilling to compromise on the issue. Liberals continue to push for blanket bans on handguns in cities such as Chicago and Washington, D.C. Moreover, California recently tried to implement a heavy restriction on carrying concealed weapons. These bills have all been struck down in federal courts for violating the Second Amendment, which confirms that a blanket ban on an individual’s right to bear arms is not a viable first step to take toward reducing gun violence.

Given the high tensions that accompany the debate on gun laws, the left should adjust its message and adopt a more tactful approach to the historically-charged issue. When liberal pundits and politicians make their case for increased gun legislation, their rhetoric must reflect cognizance of the deeply entrenched role that firearms have played in the United States. The Second Amendment explicitly states that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” This language is hardly ambiguous and, as such, gun control advocates must frame their argument in a way that does not implicate this constitutional liberty. Instead, the left should make the case for sensible gun laws that simultaneously preserve the intent of the Second Amendment while preventing senseless tragedies from transpiring.

While both liberals and conservatives can concur that averting another Newtown should be a top priority, their approach to the problem could not be more conflicting. While Idaho Democrats may be correct that the bill to permit firearms on college campuses is largely unwarranted, the state GOP has an unmistakable advantage on their side — the Second Amendment. Liberals must incorporate this constitutional right when they discuss solutions to America’s gun problem.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, March 3 print edition. Email the WSN Editorial Board at [email protected].

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  • A

    Alex PollerMar 3, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    The Constitution is a

    • G

      Götz von BerlichingenMar 3, 2014 at 8:01 pm

      it never occurred to anyone before july 4th 1776 that they could conceal a pistol under a coat?

  • B

    Barry HirshMar 3, 2014 at 10:10 am

    The target (pun!) should be the causes of violence, not the means to violence. It does your cause no good to disingenuously re-brand your actual intentions (gun control) to a focus group driven palliative (“gun safety”). This tactic smacks of the snake oil salesman.

    The first thing you must realize is that the core of your intentions is abhorrent, morally, constitutionally and logically. Then, you must focus on redirecting your energy into appropriate proposals that do not insult and injure people’s natural rights, but actually address the real issue – violent criminal behavior – not limiting the peaceable public’s access to the inanimate tools that are misused in those activities. Like it or not (and it’s obvious that you don’t), Americans have a guaranteed right to own and use these tools. The Supreme Court has gone so far as to state that the right exists independent of any constitutional enumeration, i.e. that it is a preexisting natural right that the Constitution specifically protects.

    You must recognize and accept this.

    Only then will you find us willing to listen.

  • W

    Wfeather1942Mar 3, 2014 at 5:24 am

    In the adult world, the word “COMPROMISE” means that each side in an issue, gives something up they value in order to meet in the middle and resolve the issue.

    So the question to the anti’s is rather simple 2 parts:

    1) what have you given up in compromise that you valued for all the previous 22,417 gun control laws implemented?

    2) what right do you value that you intend to give up for these new proposed laws?

    Some fantasy made up right doesn’t count in the real world, a right affirmed in the BOR and the reason must be measurable in real math and GOVT. evidence and not in some wacked out Kenyesian fantasy math!

    Since you antis don’t value the 2A, you can’t lie and say that is what you give up.

    After all, if we who are pro-gun give up in compromise the same as anti gun nuts have, which is nothing, how then can we in any sense of the word be called unreasonable?

    Love how the antis refuse to compromise and give up anything they value to get gun control.

    In fact history has show everyone how words, the freedom of speech, can be abused. We see how religious beliefs have been the greatest intiator of wars in all of history, one person god having a bigger tallywhacker than the other guys god, over 800 million killed.

    Then we see how the next most dangerous idea, based on a collection of words to form a belief called socilaism, has led to over 200 million deaths in the last century or so, because many civilians resisted such attempts.

    So based on irrefutable history words and beliefs, allowed by the use of freedom of speech, is the greatest danger to safety of our children.

    In the spirit of comrpomise, we suggest the Antis give upsome of their 1st amendment right.

    They would be required to be licensed every 4 years.

    They would be open to random inspections by the govt.

    They will be required to pay a tax for everytime they use their freedom of speech in a public forum.

    A paper work error in their submitting for more use of said right will be construed as a felony.

    Letting a family member borrow their portion of that right, will require a background check before they receive permission to exercise their right.

    They will not be allowed to lie in their exercise of their right.

    Three time offenders will be deemed incurable and jailed for life.

    Every different media forum they wish to exercise their right will require government permission, and further taxation.

    Any and all electronic devices will be registered and audited at any time the government so chooses.

    If one person in a household abuses that right and breaks the law, everyone in that family and household loses their rights and are guilty!

    See, you really wouldnt be giving up your right, you would just be infrgined upon a little, this year, a little more the next year, and the year after, and the year after.

    But its for the safety of the children.